The Paper Rhino

About a year ago I discovered the joy of Paperhammer. I'd understood the idea before that, but hadn't realized there was a whole mini-cult of people who enjoyed making elaborate (and sometimes not that elaborate) templates for a variety of Warhammer 40,000 vehicles and units. There are templates for old and new versions of many tanks, and even a fair degree of ForgeWorld stuff. There's a fellow named Jeff Vaughn who's done an absolutely amazing set of diagrams for a Warhound Titan.

We'll be getting to those eventually, don't worry...

Anyone who's even slightly interested in Paperhammer should probably swing over to The Golden Bolter Society, where they've got a great archive of templates. I'd also recommend just doing the 60-odd Meg big batch download and get everything. Easier to deal with, plus a few of the individual links were having problems at one point. There's also the BWC Archive group at Yahoo.

I decided to take my first steps into Paperhammer with a Mk.I Rhino. One reason was a bit of nostalgia--it was the first 40K vehicle I ever owned, so there was something nice and symbolic in starting with it here. It's also a pretty easy template to follow. There's a lot of detail elements on this template, but the core form is a mere five pieces. Hull, two sides, two tread bases. Simple and straightforward.

Plus, I think it's pretty tough to argue the Rhino is one of the most versatile vehicles in the game, from a modeling point of view. There are four separate armies that can use them (five if you count Orks using them as looted vehicles). The Rhino's also the base for another six tanks (Razorback, Whirlwind, Vindicator, Predator, Immolator, and the Exorcist). If you've got access to free (or extremely cheap) Rhinos, you've got a lot going for you. Even if they're the older ones.

So, an empty raisin bran box gave up its existence for these five parts. I applied them to the cardboard with a cheap glue stick from the 99Cents Store (four for a buck, really). It's so cheap, in fact, the templates tend to peel off once you're done cutting, which is a plus. I also use an old credit card as a squeegee to get them on the cardboard as smooth as possible, with no wrinkles or odd bubbles.

As I said, the Rhino's an easy template to follow, and the unknown creator (please speak up and grab credit) even included tabs for gluing. On this very first attempt, I used a straight edge for every single line and let stuff dry extra-long, but even so it only took a little over an hour to do all of this.

Helpful Hint--You can save a bunch of time by just cutting these things out with a halfway-decent pair of scissors. If the tab edges aren't perfectly straight... so what? They're going to be glued inside your model where no one can see them. Save the time-consuming straight edge and blade for scoring the long, straight folds that are going to matter.

It's probably worth noting that I didn't put on any of the wheel or tread details that are supposed to cover the two tread bases. I toyed with it, but they didn't seem worth the effort considering these elements are almost completely hidden by the hull. What I finally did was cut out four of the "wheels" that were included in the template, cut them in half, and then trim them down to fit. So if you wanted to do that, it would boost the five-part rhino up to nine (or thirteen, if you get nitpicky about the halves).

When you put it side-by-side with this handy Thousand Sons Rhino, you can see they're almost spot-on identical as far as proportions go. With the addition of just a few little details (most of which are probably already in your bitz collection if you ever had a few Mk.1 Rhinos) and a coat of paint, they'll be almost indistinguishable from a plastic kit. Final price... barely $2, unless you want to count price of the raisin bran. Then it's closer to $3.50.

That's just the first taste of Paperhammer, which is going to be a recurring theme here. In a few weeks I'm going to show a few different pictures of what I ended up doing with this particular Rhino and a few more I built. I'd like to get them dressed up and painted a bit first, though, so you can see how they'll fit into different armies.

Next time I'm going to tackle something a little bigger and more complex. And spiky, if you're into that sort of thing.


  1. where can i download the templates?? pls. help...

    email me...



    i like your work...

  2. Hey, Anon,

    The two links at the top take you to sites that have all these templates-- The Golden Bolter Society and the BWC Archive.

    I'll try to shoot you an email a little later.

  3. Could you please email me the templates? I have a difficulty finding them...